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Understanding Submucous Cleft Palate: What It Is and How South Calgary Oral Surgery Can Help

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Doctor looking to see if this girl has a submucous cleft palate


Imagine trying to build a house with a hidden crack in its foundation. No matter how beautiful the exterior, that invisible flaw can cause significant issues over time.


This is akin to the submucous cleft palate, a condition that often goes unnoticed but can have profound effects on one’s health and quality of life. Submucous cleft palate is a type of cleft palate where the cleft is covered by the mucous membrane, making it difficult to identify. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we specialize in identifying and treating this hidden cleft to restore your oral health and well-being.


What is a Submucous Cleft Palate?


A submucous cleft palate is a congenital defect affecting the roof of the mouth. Unlike a typical cleft palate, where the split is visibly apparent, a submucous cleft lies beneath the mucous membrane, the tissue lining the roof of the mouth, making it less obvious and often harder to detect.


This hidden gap can lead to speech problems, difficulty eating, and frequent ear infections. A submucous cleft palate is diagnosed when a doctor identifies the condition and refers the child to a cleft and craniofacial team for a full evaluation, which includes tests to get a better picture of the mouth and palate.


How Do Genetic and Environmental Factors Contribute to the Development of a Submucous Cleft Palate?


The development of a submucous cleft palate begins early in pregnancy when the tissues that form the roof of the mouth fail to join together completely.


This incomplete fusion can be caused by genetic and environmental factors, or a combination of both. Environmental factors, such as maternal health and exposure to certain substances, may also play a role. While the exact cause remains unknown, studies suggest a higher occurrence in families with a history of cleft conditions.


Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For


Woman in patient chair getting told she needs speech therapy for her submucous cleft palate


You might wonder how you would know if you or someone you care about has a submucous cleft palate. Symptoms can vary but often include:


  • Speech Difficulties: Nasal-sounding speech or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. Changes in a child’s speech, such as unusual nasal quality or speech sound errors, can be signs of concern.

  • Feeding Issues: Problems with sucking or swallowing, particularly in infants.

  • Frequent Ear Infections: Due to the improper functioning of the Eustachian tube.

  • Visible Signs: A bifid uvula (split uvula) or a notch at the back of the hard palate.


Early diagnosis is key to managing the condition effectively. If you notice any of these symptoms, consulting with a specialized oral surgeon at South Calgary Oral Surgery can help determine the best course of action.


Diagnostic Procedures


Diagnosing a submucous cleft palate involves a thorough examination by an experienced oral surgeon. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we utilize advanced diagnostic tools to ensure accurate detection. This typically includes:


  • Visual Examination: Inspecting the mouth and throat for visible signs.

  • Nasopharyngoscopy: Using a flexible scope to view the nasal passages and back of the throat.

  • Speech Assessment: Evaluating speech patterns to identify any abnormalities.


Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluations to ensure a precise diagnosis, which is crucial for developing an effective treatment plan.


Treatment Options at South Calgary Oral Surgery


Woman sitting in patient chair getting treatment for her submucous cleft palate


Treating a submucous cleft palate often requires a multidisciplinary approach, combining surgical and therapeutic interventions to address the functional and aesthetic aspects of the condition.


More serious symptoms may require palate correction surgery, while children with speech issues might benefit from speech-language therapy. Additionally, related ear problems can be treated by an otolaryngologist, and ear tubes may be used to prevent chronic ear infections, improve hearing, and aid in speech development.


Here are the primary treatment options we offer:


Surgical Intervention


The mainstay of treatment for submucous cleft palate is surgery. The goal of the surgery is to repair the cleft and improve the function of the palate.


Our experienced surgeons in Calgary use the latest techniques to ensure optimal outcomes. The procedure typically involves:


  • Palatoplasty: Surgical repair of the cleft to restore normal structure and function.

  • Muscle Reconstruction: Repositioning and repairing the muscles of the soft palate to improve speech and swallowing.


Speech Therapy


Post-surgery, many patients benefit from speech therapy to address any lingering speech issues. Our team works closely with skilled speech therapists to develop customized programs that enhance speech clarity and communication skills.


Ongoing Care and Monitoring


Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor progress and address any emerging issues. We provide continuous care and support to ensure the best possible results for our patients.



The Importance of Early Intervention

Image showing a representation of what a submucous cleft palate is

Early detection and treatment of a submucous cleft palate can significantly enhance outcomes. Addressing the issue promptly not only improves physical health but also boosts self-esteem and social interactions. Our team at South Calgary Oral Surgery is committed to raising awareness about this condition and providing top-notch care to our community.


South Calgary Oral Surgery: Your Partner in Oral Health


As a leading provider of oral surgery in SE and SW Calgary and surrounding communities, South Calgary Oral Surgery is dedicated to offering compassionate, expert care. South Calgary Oral Surgery also treats conditions like cleft lip to provide a broader context of the services offered.


Our team of highly skilled surgeons is equipped with the latest technology and techniques to treat a wide range of oral health issues, including if you have had submucous cleft palate diagnosed.


Conclusion: Take Charge of Your Oral Health Today


Person getting a checkup to have good oral health


Don’t let a hidden condition like a submucous cleft palate compromise your health and quality of life. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have this condition, reach out to South Calgary Oral Surgery.


Our experienced team is here to provide the care and support you need to achieve optimal oral health. Schedule your consultation today and take the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.


Inspiring Message


Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. At South Calgary Oral Surgery, we’re here to help you uncover and overcome those hidden obstacles, guiding you towards a healthier, more confident you. Let us be your partner on this journey to oral wellness.


For more information, visit our website at South Calgary Oral Surgery.


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